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tiggeroo13
01-05-2006, 11:06 AM
Hi, I am wondering if anyone knows any information on the medical facility or doctors. We leave tuesday for our Saturday cruise 1/14. I am nervous because we just found out yesterday that I have a heart condition that will need surgery to repair. We will be getting it done when we get back. However, the nurse said I should be okay going on the cruise. Since I just found out yesterday, I am nervous. I was wondering if the doctors are international docs, if there are good hospitals at the ports of Key West, Costa Maya, Grand Cayman. Also, is the ship facility like a mini ER? I've heard cruise ships have very good docs nowadays.

I would back out if it wasn't for my kids and my parents coming along with us. Everyone is so excited. Anyways, thank you!

4theloveofdisney
01-05-2006, 11:28 AM
Is this a minor thing? If not, and I hate to say this, I would change my plans. I know your family must be excited but what if something happens to you? They would never forget it and they may not forgive themselves!!!

Sorry to be such a downer but that sounds like something serious. :guilty:

ohiominnie
01-05-2006, 11:35 AM
I guess I'd base my decision on what it is and the seriousness of it according to the doctors. Is it something they wanted to fix NOW, but are waiting because of your vacation plans? Is this something you've had your whole life and fixing it sooner (in a couple of weeks) rather than later (in 10 years) won't make a bunch of difference? Are you going to spend your cruise fretting about the what ifs and not enjoying the cruise?

The ships medical facilities are very good. They can run like an ICU and they have good doctors on board (contracted out through another company) I know a person, actually, whose physician group is considering doing the cruise ship rotation and everyone in the group is a top notch ER doctor.

That being said, they also have the means to evacuate you from the ship if necessary. I was on a cruise once that had left Grand Cayman and an hour later did a 180 and returned to Grand Cayman to take a passenger to a hospital. They also have the means to air lift you off the ship if it would come to that....but....the chances of that are remote (I'm wondering if they've ever actually done that) but they are prepared, and that is comforting.

Tough call. No one can give you the answer that is right for you. You'll need to talk this over with your doctors and your family. I suspect if the doctors are willing to wait until you get back then this isn't emmergent. Otherwise they'd be scheduling you for surgery tomorrow, no questions asked.

TiggerKing
01-05-2006, 11:46 AM
I would offer these suggestions:

1) Ask your doctor to write a note describing your condition and provide that to the onboard physician after boarding. Be sure you introduce yourself and advise the doctor of which cabin you are in. It may be unnecessary, but every little bit of up front information is helpful. I would also ask the doctor to note that the does not feel there are any issues with you participating in the cruise.

2) Ask the doctor if there is anything you should absolutely avoid, whether it be activities, foods, stress, etc. Tell him/her what ports you are going to and ask if there are any you should avoid leaving ship to go and see.

3) Do you have trip insurance? I ask this because just in case something were to occur, it can cover/help cover the expenses. At sea and foreign soil evacuations can be quite pricey. If you don't have it, it is too late, but I just wanted you to think about whether you do or not.

4) Finally, if the doctor tells you to avoid stress, use that as an excuse to schedule a massage for every day of the cruise! ;)

I know the things I said may sound scary, but if the doctor feels it is okay for you to make the trip (doctor, not nurse), then go and enjoy the relaxation. I hope you enjoy yourself.

MV_Photon
01-05-2006, 12:03 PM
I wouldn't mind being on the medical staff at the hospitals in the Florida Keys:
Lower Keys Medical Center
Fishermen's Hospital
Hendry Regional Medical Center
Mariner's Hospital
However, none of those facilities offer either Coronary ICU or open-heart surgery: http://www.floridahealthstat.com/publications/fhsg2003.pdf

The 120-bed hospital in Georgetown, GC routinely shuttles acute patients to Miami.

Mexico? (....'nuff said)

Note that many insurance companies (and Medicare) may limit payments for overseas medical care, and that medical evacuation (>$10,000) is seldom covered. The US State Department maintains a list of Air Evacuation and International Travel Insurance companies: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/health/health_1185.html

I was injured in a crash in Bermuda a few years ago. The hospital charged everything to my credit cards upon my discharge, and I've never been fully reimbursed for those expenses.

crzy4magic
01-05-2006, 12:21 PM
There have been several stories posted on this board through the years aboutthe ship being diverted to an extra stop to evacuate an extremely ill passenger. I remember reading in the trip reports this week that they did an air evacuation from the Magic during the past month.

The ships medical facilities are quite good, but they are not a big city ER. They will stabilize and then get a patient to an appropriate facility. My sister is in medicine and looked into working on cruise ships - interesting thing she discovered was that Disney originally was slanted towards pediatrics, but now is looking for both pediatrics and elderly due to the number of multigeneration families traveling together. Princess used to look just for internists/elderly specialists, but now has peditrics capable people on some of their Caribean and Alaska ships.

First, verify with your doctor the degree of risk taking the vacation. If they are against it, please try to be cautious and consider postponing.

Second, verify that your trip insurance covers emergency evacuation. When my Dad was in his late 70s and early 80s he continued to travel with my sister - DCL, Princess to Alaska, planned a trip to Europe. The cost of air evacuations are very high - upwards of $25000 from Europe to the US. We made sure that we always had evacuation coverage to make sure that he could get back to the USA.

Third, Let the medical staff know that you have an issue. My Dad developed some mobility issues the week before we went of a Disney cruise 4 years ago. They noticed this during the Lifeboat drill and talked with us about an alternative plan in case of an emergency. They were very proactive about making sure he would not be at risk in an emergency and even called to see how he was doing/enjoying the trip mid week. (It was clear to both my sister and I it was really a medical check, but they covered so he didn't realize he was being checked in on).

Have a good trip and best of luck

tiggeroo13
01-07-2006, 04:33 PM
Thank you everyone for replying to my post. It took me awhile to see where I posted it to read the replies LOL. My doctors don't seem to be as worried about it as I do. They do want to get on it right when we get back but both have said go and have a good time.

I am a worry wort and being out in the middle of the ocean gives me a reason to worry more about my health. So...we've decided to go and will give the doc a heads up upon entering the ship.

Thank you guys again, you've reassured me that everything will be fine.

disneylover5
01-07-2006, 06:06 PM
2 years ago my then 14ds got very ill in the middle of the night. The medical staff was wonderful and took very good care of him.....he became an "inpatient". He had an allergic reaction to God knows what and we almost lost him. They knew exactly what to do and stayed on top of his every move. It was funny because the week we sailed was such smooth sailing they told us they did not have any sick sick patients...they were glad to have Daniel to give them something to do. Within 48 hours, he was out on Castaway Cay with us.....at least for a little while. We are off agaon in 3 weeks and I am taking my 81 year old mom and 75 year old father in law and I feel that if they get sick, they will be well taken care of. Go and have fun and DO NOT WORRY!!

4theloveofdisney
01-07-2006, 07:11 PM
Thank you everyone for replying to my post. It took me awhile to see where I posted it to read the replies LOL. My doctors don't seem to be as worried about it as I do. They do want to get on it right when we get back but both have said go and have a good time.

I am a worry wort and being out in the middle of the ocean gives me a reason to worry more about my health. So...we've decided to go and will give the doc a heads up upon entering the ship.

Thank you guys again, you've reassured me that everything will be fine.

If your docs are saying to go, then go and have a great time!!!!!!! :goodvibes

tiggeroo13
01-07-2006, 07:51 PM
YEAH!!! I am getting so excited and you guys have made me feel so good about going! Thank you, Thank you! Disneylover5, I am sorry you went through that. I am glad everything went as well as it did though!

Heather